Unformatted text preview: Issues in Animal
Deontological and Utilitarian
Positions 1 Benefits of Animal Research Determine the toxicity
chemicals/drugs Draize test
LD50 test Test the efficacy of
Gain knowledge 2 Drawbacks of animal research Inferential gap
Harms animals – a
setback of their interests
Generates a great deal
of suffering 3 The Case Against Animal Research
by Tom Regan 4 Two Senses of Autonomy Kantian sense of autonomy states that
individuals are autonomous only if they are
capable of acting on reasons they can will as
Preference autonomy states that individuals
are autonomous if they have preferences and
have the ability to initiate action with a view to
5 Two Senses of Autonomy The Kantian sense of autonomy is a
prerequisite to moral agency.
Preference autonomy is a prerequisite to being
a moral patient, which is part of the moral
community. Moral agent v. moral patient 6 Regan cont. Since animals, like humans, have inherent
value, these individuals have a basic moral
right to respectful treatment.
All moral agents and patients must be treated
in ways that are consistent with the recognition
of their equal possession of value of this kind.
Since rights entail obligations, moral agents
have the obligation not to use moral patients as
7 Toxicology The toxicity argument supports the idea that
we need to test the toxicity of each new drug
If we don’t use animals for testing drugs,
humans will run a greater risk of being made
worse-off by taking new drugs. 8 Regan’s Counterpoint Risks are not morally transferable to
those who do not voluntarily choose to
take them. 9 What about the risks of not testing? Regan’s view does not oppose all testing
of drugs. People who want to use an untested drug could
themselves choose not to run the risks associated
with taking it by deciding not to take it.
Develop alternatives 10 What about the interests of drug
companies? Financial losses don’t outweigh protecting
Evidence exists that animal testing is more
expensive than some of the alternatives.
Arguing that the regulatory agencies require it
misses the moral point.
Appeals to what the law requires have no
moral weight if we have good reason to
believe that the laws in question are unjust.
11 Objections to Regan’s Position Regan assumes that the mere possession of
preferences is sufficient to guarantee full
moral value. This means that: The principle of respect for autonomy is an all or
The possession of any autonomy at all is sufficient
to make that principle fully operative
The right not to be harmed depends upon no other
consideration than the principle of respect for
12 Objections cont. Rights are not absolute. Can we claim that we can violate an animal’s right
if we have a good reason? 13 Utilitarianism v. the Rights View Regan claims that to treat animals as if their
value were reducible to their utility for human
interests, even important human interests, is to
treat them unjustly.
Ridley suggests that we perhaps defend animal
research by taking an utilitarian approach, but
is this claim accurate? 14 Peter Singer Singer uses the
to argue for the equal
consideration of the
interests of animals.
He is a preference
utilitarian. 15 Equality There are differences between humans and
These differences will entail differences in
Yet, equality is a moral ideal or a prescriptive
claim rather that a descriptive claim. 16 Principle of Equal Consideration of
Interests Differences, nonetheless, should not prevent
us from extending the principle of equal
consideration to other animals.
There is no logically compelling reason for
assuming that a factual difference in ability
between two people justifies any difference in
the amount of consideration we give to
satisfying their needs and interests.
17 Sufficient Condition for Having
Interests Bentham points to the capacity for suffering as the
vital characteristic that gives a being the right to
Other animals have sentience – the capacity to feel
and perceive which includes the ability to suffer and
to experience happiness.
Sentience is a prerequisite for having interests at all.
“If a being suffers, there can be no moral justification
for refusing to take that suffering into consideration.”
18 No other boundary Singer claims that sentience is the only
What other boundary could there be? Intelligence
Homo Sapiens 19 Speciesism If we draw the line arbitrarily, then we are being
Speciesism is when we allow the interests of our own
species to override the greater interests of other
Examples of speciesist practices: Eating animals for a matter of taste
Needlessly experimenting on animals
Ignoring the interests of other animals by failing to
challenge prevailing ideas
20 Singer’s Main Thesis If any creature is
suffering, then we
should take its
when we calculate
21 Discussion Questions Are other animals part of the moral
Do they have moral status? If so, what is their
What does it mean to harm them?
Is it morally permissible to use them for
Is it morally permissible to eat them and wear
them based solely on our tastes?
22 Cows and their preferences…. 23 References Ridley, Aaron. Ridley, Aaron. Beginning
Bioethics: A text with integrated readings.
Bedford/St. Martin’s: Boston, 1998.
Singer, Peter. “A Utilitarian Defense of
Animal Liberation.” In Environmental Ethics,
3rd ed., edited by L. Pojman. Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth, 2001. 24 ...
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- Spring '09
- Animal Rights, animal research, interests, moral agents, moral patient